"Zapped!" is a comedy/sci-fi film, made in 1982. The film was directed by Robert J. Rosenthal, who wrote it with Bruce Rubin.

The plot:

Peyton and Barney, two nerds, are working on an experiment with white mice, finding that a mouse has telekinetic powers. Having found the formula for this power, he uses it to gain control, win baseball games and roulette, and to win over girls. His parents in time find out about the powers, and attempt to get him exorcised.

The film is set in the USA, in English. The film is colour, stereo, and received a rating of 15. Scott Baio played Barney Springboro, Willie Aames playing Peyton Nichols. The rest of the major cast is as follows:

Robert Mandan / Walter Johnson
Felice Schachter / Bernadette
Scatman Crothers / Dexter Jones
Roger Bowen / Mr. Springboro
Mews Small / Mrs. Springboro
Greg Bradford / Robert Wolcott
Hilary Beane / Corinne Updike
Sue Ane Langdon / Rose Burnhart
Heather Thomas / Jane Mitchell
Hardy Keith / Roscoe Brown
Curt Ayers / Art
Merritt Butrick / Gary Cooter
Jennifer Chaplin / Melissa Granger

I hope this was useful to you.

It was the late 1980s before the local UHF stations became hijacked with upstart broadcast networks such as Fox, UPN, WB, etc. Scott Baio was known, at least by me, to be the actor who played the role of Chachi and became a housesitter/babysitter known as Charles. Willie Ames was known as Buddy Lembeck, Willie's role on Eight is Enough seemed to be a faded memory.

Late one night, when these UHF stations aired movies (z-grade usually, other times classics from decades earlier or z-grade movies and serials from previous decades), I was pleasantly surprised to see a relatively new movie, as opposed to Citizen Kane for the umpteenth time. I was pleased even more when I saw Heather Thomas as the popular girl every teenaged male wanted to bed.

This film featured several archetypes frequently used in film: the unpopular nerdy male who loves science, the friend who goofs off a lot and gets the nerd involved in all kinds of schemes, the blonde girl/cheerleader, and of course the jock who is dating her along with the cliques and conflicts that are normally associated with high schools. The film is not a masterpiece and its low critical rating is deserved but I did not find it a total waste of time; especially being 14 and living at home with nothing to do on a weekend night. *Possible spoiler* this film featured projectile vomiting, underaged drinking, a trip to the amusement park, and revenge.

Film Information

'Zapped!' is a motion picture starring Scott Baio.

Scott Baio play's Barney Springboro, a nerd in high school who finds that he harbors powers of telekinesis after a science experiment gone wrong. When teaming up with Peyton Nichols, a wealthy playboy with a dirty mind played by Willie Aames, he uses his powers for the sole purpose of stripping girls, beating up bullies and cheating at sports. For this reason, when the film was first released critics slammed it for relying on excessive nudity for sales and for having a weak storyline.

The film itself was made in 1981 by Embassy Pictures on a budget of $2,000,000. It was produced by Jeff Apple and was co-written and directed by Robert Rosenthal. The cast included Heather Thomas, Sue Ane Langdon, Robert Mandon and others in stereotypical high-school roles, and when released the next year, the film made $15,000,000.

Zapped! was rated in the UK as a 15, and in the US as a PG (for the original version) and an R later on. The film ran for 98 minutes in colour and stereo sound.

The music within the film was composed by James Fox and performed by various people including David Pomeranz. Most of the lyrics were done by Steve Geyer. The film itself on release was nominated for the best fantasy film at the Saturn Awards, and Willie Aames was nominated for worst actor at the Golden Raspberry Awards for his role in the film. Neither the film nor Aames picked up an award.

The films success came later though, achieving fantastic success on video release. This success prompted a straight to video release of 'Zapped Again!', a sequel (but only Sue Ane Langdon returned).


Zapped! was shrouded in trouble through shooting, and in its advertisements. Heather Thomas, during filming, did not agree with being filmed and photographed topless or nearly nude, and so a body double was used for closeups. She insisted that people would think it was her, and a note had to be added to the credits when she complained to the Screen Actors' Guild.

Further trouble came when the advertisement, featuring cartoon versions of Baio and Aames using the telekinetic power to lift a girl's skirt up, was viewed in a bad light by the Los Angeles Times. They said that it wasnt what the reader could see, but what was suggested that Baio and Aames could see. The advertisment was redrawn by the artist to obscure their view.


--May Contain Spoilers--

Zapped!, while half decent and worth sitting down to watch, is a bit of a one gag film. However, this doesn't mean it's bad. It's one of those films, like one of those jokes, that are sometimes so bad they're just damn good. I cant really deny it.

Despite bad acting from TV actors making it similar to a made for TV film, you have to give credit where credit is due. Some might say that the nudity goes too far past 'slightly naughty', but in another way it's what makes the film. What else would you expect from an eighties film? Either way, without it, the film would be bottom of the pile garbage, quite simply. It's a guilty pleasure.

As the film turns more towards romantic comedy it forgets it's science fiction base a bit, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Call me feminine, I dont care, I quite enjoy a lot of rom-com. It's only slightly better than chick flicks. However, anyone could say the film improves ever so slightly as it turns more romantic, without having ever watched Pretty Woman from start to finish.

Bad acting, bad special effects, and a bad storyline would be one way to sum the film up, but somehow it's good. I'm not sure why, or how, but somehow, it's entertaining. My attempt at professional critiquing says "dont watch it, save yourselves" but my fun loving side says "rent it, you'll love it". I guess you would have to find out for yourself, but it would keep you entertained for 98 minutes, so you wont feel like it's time wasted, or money.

So, what are you waiting for? E2 can wait, go watch this film!

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